The Un-Birdable Lightness of Benton

What the heck is The Time Monster?  While it’s always welcome to look at (and cap) a Roger Delgado story, The Time Monster was the another (!) crack at Atlantis (and certainly a saner one than The Underwater Menace), but only really at the end (again the familiar structure trick for a six-part story of it being a four and two-part story stitched together), and a Master story AND a contemporary UNIT and science story.  It’s all rather a bit of a mess, albeit an inoffensive one, and there are nice touches that a second viewing (after all too many years) reveal.

This viewer had completely forgotten the twinned TARDISes (a feat mimicked many years later, and evidently more memorably, in Logopolis) or that Benton got so much to do. It’s also worth remembering that this was Delgado’s next-to-last story, though it’s probably least remembered.

The constant presence of the Master in every story of Season 8, which is now widely acknowledged as an indulgent mistake, perhaps exaggerates his impact on the whole of Pertwee era.  More sparing appearances from The Sea Devils forward were welcome and yet, the keen viewer was always left wondering if or when the Master would show up.  The Time Monster didn’t play around with this at all, the Master was there right from the jump, but the result was an ungainly spectacle, right down to the denouement where the Doctor has to plead for the Master’s life (a CSO festival in episode six if there ever was one).

No more pleading for caps of The Time Monster however.  They’re a complete add for the Tour, and the overdue return of Classic Capitology to the Pertwee era.  We’re promised a tie-in to the 50th Anniversary in the next thrilling adventure in Classic Capitology.